World’s Fair – The Beer Glass

by John Delach

From the very beginning of our early visits to the 1964 New York World’s Fair, my friends and I made it a habit to salute our visit by enjoying a brew or two at The Schaefer Center. Outstanding beer; extremely fresh, straight from their Williamsburg brewery having arrived by truck that very day. Not only was the taste exquisite, Schaefer served this, their premier draft larger in a special glass that they commissioned specifically for the Fair.

 

“Schaefer is the one beer to have when you’re having more than one,

A most delightful pleasure in this man’s world,

 For people who are having fun,

Schaefer is the one beer to have when you’re having more than one.”

 

Fortunately, I wasn’t bold enough to attempt to steal one or two of these works of art and I had enough cash in my pocket. So, I asked the bartender if I could buy one of these glasses? The answer was no, but he told me I could buy a set of six glasses protected by a strong carton in which they were boxed and sealed. The price was reasonable so I took the plunge. Somehow the glasses survived the night and arrived safely home with me in the early morning hours .

 

When my mother awoke the next morning she discovered the box on our kitchen table and naturally assumed that the glasses were a gift for her. After all, what would her 20-year-old son want with a set of glasses? Also, she accepted this as a special gift fomher son as the Fair opened on her birthday, April 22. Mom had adopted the Fair as her special place.

 

Even though I was a still-selfish, newly-minted, post-teen, I had enough sense not to deny her those glasses or to concoct some malarkey as to why I should keep them. And so they remained with my mother until she passed in 1997. It was then that I discovered that all six glasses remained almost in mint condition having never seen the inside of a dishwasher during their long lives.

Wow, what memories these glasses provide for me. Thanks, Mom for keeping these treasures safe.

This is what I wrote about them in 2002. That piece, The Beer Glass, appeared in my anthology, The Big Orange Dog:  

 

The Beer Glass

 

A fluted eight-ounce beer glass, it is both handsome and practical. Though not very old, it is nonetheless well-crafted projecting the pride of the brewery that commissioned it.

 

On one side, near the top, there is a vertical oval ring embossed in gold. Gold lines radiate inward from the top and bottom of the ring to a horizontal red oval in the center of the ring. In clear script, “Schaefer” is imprinted onto this red oval. Beneath the gold ring, in matching red script, the glass proclaims, “America’s Oldest Lager Beer.” On the opposite side in matching red script, “Schaefer Center- New York World’s Fair 1964-1965.”

 

The glass is well balanced, easy to hold, easy to drink from. It cries out to be filled with, “The one beer to have when you are having more than one.”

 

 When filled, the amber liquid backlights the red script, the clear brand name and the gold ring, while a foamy head provides needed contrast.

 

Pick it up. Look at it. Drink from it. Settle back into a different era when they still made beer in Brooklyn.